Like almost no other German city, Dortmund has seen enormous change in recent years. The former “steel city” developed into a modern and cosmopolitan metropolis, acquiring renown all across Europe as an innovative location for technological development. But the biggest city in the Ruhr Valley also scores with a wide range of possibilities in the cultural and sporting sector, with extensive greens and a high quality of life.
Impressions from DortmundDortmund has entered the third millennium with its own target: building on existing strengths and creating new potential in the process. An aim that is met with evident success: counting 586,000 inhabitants, the city alongside the ancient German trading route (the “Hellweg”) is one of the biggest cities of the Federal Republic of Germany and the economic and cultural centre of Westphalia. Dortmund was founded as „Throtmani” around the year 880. Called “Dorpmunde” throughout the Middle ages, it was one of the richest and most important cities of the Hanseatic League for a long time. Coal, steel and beer guaranteed economic prosperity beyond the middle of the past century. In the course of structural change, however, new branches like IT, micro systems technology, logistics, communications- and media technology have re-shaped Dortmund’s corporate landscape.
The dortmund-project: fresh ideas and new industries
One of the triggers for Dortmund’s metamorphosis into a modern technology location was the dortmund-project. A local initiative for the new Dortmund, it was started in 2000 with the goal of furthering structural change from within. The dortmund-project is pooling the strengths of city, economy and science in an unusual network, creating the framework for locating new businesses and enterprises from technology-oriented sunrise industries. The initiative „start2grow“, for instance, which supports founders in realizing their plans for new business ideas, has found a competent partner in the dortmund-project.
But Dortmund can also play trump cards in other sectors. The insurance industry is represented with three important companies, and so is the finance sector with 45 banks and 5,500 employees. One of the city’s major locational advantages are its excellent transport links: the Dortmund airport, the third-biggest Intercity nodal point in Germany, a highway ring around the city and the biggest European canal port make Dortmund easily accessible from every direction.
Traditional locations with a modern face
Trend-setting industries can find new, spacious homes in old branches of industry restored for the purpose. The former army barracks area at Dortmund’s main traffic artery, the B1, were converted into a new service- and commercial estate, the Stadtkrone Ost, also including high-quality real estate. The area offers modern office space to enterprises dealing in electronic- and mobile-business.
The development of the former furnace site PHOENIX West is a is a further example of an area converted to suit the needs of the micro system technology- (MST) and the IT sector. Framed by industrial plants of the past, new small and mediumsized MST and IT businesses will fi nd a home here over time. The MST.factory dortmund broke the first ground in 2005, being the first and (up until now) the only competence centre that exclusively provides MST-specific infrastructure and services for prototype development.
Leading the way in research and teaching
The Ruhr Valley metropolis is also one of the leading locations in the field of science and research in Germany. Cooperation with the local economy and an efficient knowledge transfer are the reason why more than 30 prestigious institutes for scientific research have their seat in Dortmund - partly in affiliation to the universities, partly run by private or public funding providers. The University of Dortmund, founded in 1968, educates 22,000 students studying towards an academic degree. It also has the biggest computer science chair in Germany. The polytechnic with an additional 9,000 students, a centre for skilled IT staff, a private university for international management and a polytechnic for public administration round out what Dortmund has to offer in this area.
The TechnologieZentrumDortmund, TZDO (Dortmund Technology Centre), founded in 1985 as one of the first of its kind, is an important connecting link between scientific research and economic implementation. Now surrounded by the TechnologiePark (technology park), the two are now home to around 225 enterprises with more than 8,500 employees. The TZDO’s fundamental task is to initiate new and future-oriented technological and economic processes and to develop them for the regional economy.
Space to relax – Dortmund’s greens
Dortmund is not only an excellent location for industry, however, but also has a lot to offer in other areas. Numerous greens, making up almost half of the city’s 280 square kilometers, provide a high quality of life and leisure time. The zoo, renowned for its breeding successes with predominantly South-American animal species, and extensive parks are hallmarks of the city. There are the Westfalenpark, housing the German Rosarium with over 3,000 kinds of roses, thereby making it the third-largest collection in the world, and the botanic garden Rombergpark with around 4,500 different kinds of trees, to name only two. The 24-hectar Lake PHOENIX, to be created in the grounds of the former Hermannshutte works, promises waterfront flair: 1,300 accommodation units and various recreational facilities are to be built along its shores starting in 2008. The enormous amounts of soil to be moved for the purpose will later be re-used to model a terrace landscape at the lake front.
The countryside to the left- and right hand side of the river Emscher will also change dramatically in the coming years. The area will undergo a far-reaching restoration process: from today’s waste-water disposal in concrete formwork to ecologically sound meadows. A countryside by the river, meandering through the northern city zones, offering manifold recreational possibilities.
Greens close to home are also a priority. Dortmund’s 90 city districts are surrounded by attractive greens: more than 100 allotment gardens, greenery planted in courtyards and playgrounds, and trees and flowerbeds along the roads are rounding out the city’s outdoor image. The Stadtgarten (“town garden”) is the city centre’s green lung. People looking for recreation away from buzzing city life will find what they are looking for in the nearby Munsterland or in the rolling hills of the Sauerland region.
Information from http://city.dortmund.de
For more information about Dortmund visit http://city.dortmund.de